Managing Risk of Workplace Harm to Electorate Office Staff in Western Australia

Dr Natalie Pyszora1, Sergeant Brad Cooper2, Detective Sergeant Tim Paini2
1Department Of Health Wa, , , 2Security Operations Division, Western Australia Police Force, Maylands, Australia

Studies in a number of jurisdictions have highlighted that the majority of Members of Parliament are subject to  various forms of harassment by constituents at some point in their careers.

A previous study in Queensland identified that electorate office (EO) staff are also subject to threats and harassment. A similar survey  was undertaken in Western Australia on the EO staff in 2017 and the results were presented to the EO staffers conference and the Department of Premier and Cabinet in 2018.

The results highlighted that staff had poor rates of awareness of how and when to report bizarre communications and threats by constituents. As a result, the Security Operations Division of WAPF has undertaken a number of measures to improve risk management for the Electorate office staffers including;

*Clear instructions for EO staff on obtaining appropriate level of police assistance in different threat scenarios

*Enhanced liaison with EO staff by the Dignitary Protection Unit (DPU)

*Training for DPU staff on fixation, grievance & warning behaviours

*Improved processes for recording concerning communication and investigation by detectives

*Assessment of cases by new FTAC service in WA

The presentation will outline the results of the survey, and the improvement measures put in place in the last 18 months. A couple of case examples will be used to illustrate how cases are reported, and threats managed.

The presenters will include the 2 sergeants within the DPU and WA’s FTAC.


Biographies to come

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